Community health centers (CHCs) are the largest and most successful primary care system in the country. Serving 1 in 11 people in America, CHCs play a vital role in the healthcare safety net. They provide medical, dental, behavioral health services, and more, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. CHCs are also called Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs).
National Health Center Week
August 7 – 13 is National Health Center Week. Its goal is to raise awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers over the past half-century. The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) produced this informative video highlighting the legacy and success of America’s health centers.
Making Medical Services Accessible
CHCs treat 30 million patients, particularly communities of color, rural communities, and individuals living in poverty.
91% of its patients live below 200% FPL (federal poverty level), including:
- 1 in 3 people in poverty
- 1 in 5 rural residents
- 1 in 5 uninsured persons
- 1 in 6 Medicaid beneficiaries
Nearly 4 million Americans remain locked out of Medicaid expansion (coverage gap), and millions more find it difficult to afford medical services. Health centers provide a safety net for these populations, who would otherwise not be able to access care. Read our article about how one resident of Texas in the “coverage gap” relies on community health centers for primary care.
Healthcare Safety Net – Past and Present
President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a War on Poverty over 50 years ago. He established CHCs to deliver affordable primary health care to underserved areas. This made medical services accessible to people irrespective of their age, geography, or economic status.
Today, CHCs provide affordable health services for millions of uninsured, working poor, homeless, veterans, newly jobless Americans, and others. Care provided at CHCs saves the U.S. healthcare system more than $24 billion per year.
On August 5, 2022, President Biden recognized the health center program as a cornerstone of public health and pledged to work with Congress to double its size.
Support legislation and funding of health centers. Additionally, you can support your local community health center or become a sponsor.
Visit nachc.org for more information.
Community Health Centers and DHI
Community health centers are discussed in chapter 10 of Decoding Health Insurance and the Alternatives. This comprehensive guide explains the different kinds of health insurance and types of healthcare coverage available. Additionally, it is packed with tips for saving money on health care, with or without coverage.
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